It’s this simple: the lies we tell ourselves are the monsters that prevent us from living and experiencing our ultimate creative dreams.
The desire to write stems from the desire to evolve, to untangle the lie we have been carrying around about ourselves. The lie is that we are not enough, that we are not forgiven, that it is never going to happen for us, that we should just forget it, pack up, and go home. Al Watts
I hear these monsters popping out everywhere. I see them hiding out and spooking a would-be creator from her dreams like a bogey-man (& I include myself in this category).
Just last week, a friend talked about her need to figure out what she was going to do to make money because even though she loved writing fiction, it was too tenuous to base any expectations of income on so . . . why bother.
And she hadn’t even started.
This broke my heart.
It reminded me of when I lived with all those lies. Here is a list of lies I used to tell myself. Do any of these sound familiar?
- No one makes money writing/creating >> NOT TRUE . . . people are making money (often they are making lots of money).
- Maybe other people are writers/artists but I’m not and never will be >> NOT TRUE . . . this is an untested story based on perception not fact. If you have actually tried to be a writer or artist and failed it could be fact. But what if you perceived that you failed when you actually didn’t? Lots of creators have seemingly failed at a genre, medium, or instrument . . . before finding the right one.
- You need a degree to do this successfully >> NOT TRUE . . . People do it all the time . . . successfully. What you need is some entrepreneurial spirit and determination.
- I have to decide between creating and family/work/friends >> NOT TRUE . . . what you need to do is the same thing you have always done: prioritize. Except you need to prioritize creating along with (or above) other important things in your life.
- I don’t have the time >> NOT TRUE . . . time can be created for important things.
- Becoming good or successful takes years. It’s too late >> NOT TRUE . . . Every effort for success and every project requires the ability to RISK. Virtually every successful thing that you see whether it’s a book, a record, or a business required someone’s faith in the beginning. It’s never too late to start. Only time, commitment, and hard work will tell if success is part of the equation.
- I can never be any good >> NOT TRUE . . . This perception probably comes from comparing yourself to other famous writers or creators. Put your focus on skill acquisition, not raw talent. Remember, that famous person spent thousands of hours building a skill . . . and so can you.
- This creative stuff isn’t practical or important . . . it’s not contributing anything of value to the world >> NOT TRUE . . . for me this was a really BIG one. For years, I completely devalued the role of art in society. I didn’t think it contributed to society in a meaningful way so I majored in International Development and worked in nonprofits. The problem was that I was actually a writer. And I couldn’t change that . . . so I was always unhappy and more to the point, I was not playing to my strengths in the career world . . . not a good move. These decisions weren’t great on the self-esteem either. Now I think about all the books and words that have changed lives and the world. Art and writing is not the only way to change the world for the better but it is one of the most powerful and effective ways. We should never forget or underestimate that power.
Every idea we have about our creativity and identity needs to be tested. Think: science. Sometimes this process is gentle and sometimes it’s not.
The question is not: will I be successful?
The question is: what defines success for me, now?
Or perhaps it is: what lies am I telling myself around this area and how can I test them?
The question becomes: how much I want it?
I want it pretty badly, enough to test my ideas and figure out where I might be getting in my own way.
How about you?
Do It + Live It Because It’s Who You Are,